back to article Virgin Media begins 100Mb upgrades

Virgin Media today said it will begin increasing the maximum downstream broadband speed available via its network to 100Mbit/s, and maximum upload speed to 10Mbit/s. The gradual programme will take more than 18 months to cover the country, it said, and is due for completion in mid-2012. The first areas scheduled for upgrade, in …

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UPTO!!!

I just wish I could get the speed (or nearer than my current UPTO) I currently pay for. If I fancy surfing at 2\3am then I may get close, but if I fancy using it during busy times like 20:00hrs I'm lucky if I get UPTO 1 meg let alone what I pay for !!!

Oh wait I do I pay for UPTO 20 meg.

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Boffin

not really

cable internet is a tad bit different to ADSL. If you can buy 100mb then you will get 100mb (pretty much) the same as the current 50mb. There is still contention but not the same disadvantages as ASDL distance to exchange.

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Anonymous Coward

RTFP

Read the post again, Danny. Sean says he can get close to his quoted speed at 2/3am in the morning, but at busy times it's much lower. That's contention pure and simple, nothing to do with distance from the exchange.

Actually people who suffer massively at certain times of day are usually on an IPStream service, the best bet is to go to a provider who have kit in the exchange rather than just piggy backing off BT Wholesale's network. I suspect that the OP has gone with a cheap IPStream service.

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Traffic Shaping

Not if they are traffic shaping which they do at peak times.

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Flame

Re: In a perfect world, sure

What you don't understand is that cable broadband is remarkably similar to ADSL except in how it presents the available bandwidth. Cable modems sync to available frequencies and then the bandwidth is contended all the way from the UBR to the CPE. This is why DOCSIS 3 makes such a big difference as it has far more available concurrent channels (and the bandwidth of each is significantly higher).

HOWEVER, if the provider decides to undersupply bandwidth to the UBR the CPE is connected to, that customer WILL ABSOLUTELY experience slower-than-headline speeds, higher pings, potentially higher packet loss and frustratingly slow internet access. Sure, the modem may say it's synchronised at 104857600 bits/sec downstream and 10485760 bits/sec upstream but realistically it might spike at that but average much lower. Same will happen for oversold areas, of which there are many. (Pick a town, any town)

Source: my previous experiences on cable broadband, just after VM bought out Telewest and finished the rebrand (and flushed it all down the pan by introducing 20MB followed sharply by unannounced STM)

VM, Vituperous Marketing

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FAIL

Fair usage policy

Sounds good, but i bet they will still set a stupid fair usage / capping limit of 100mb in 24 hours lol

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Not necessarily

If you pay for the 50Mb service there is no limits or caps, so I doubt they will set any for the 100Mb service

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Pint

I don't mind VM's traffic management

Do you what you like, within reason, at certain times of the day. I get up for work at 4am anyway and I happily beat the life out of my link for 2-3 hours before work, then it's dead during the peak times when traffic management is in operation.

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Badgers

Limits and caps

There is now. The 50mbit service has an upload cap and is subject to throttling on newsgroups/bittorrent at peak hours when the network is congested. Virgin are yet to specify any real details of it yet though. I can say I'm yet to be affected by any of it though, and get 50mbit down and 5mbit up all day and all night.

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Yes!

I am so there when it comes to my neighbourhood.

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Priorities...

Before rolling out the penis extension speed increases, please could we have the 20+ year old wiring that supplies my district of Edinburgh upgraded so that we can get 10Mb speeds working?

Pretty please?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Priorities...

How about waiting until they finish rolling it out to the whole country. Some of us don't have any cable at all and barely struggle to get 2meg on ADSL... 25 mins from central London, mainline commuter route, M25 on the door step... Broadband backwater - go figure!

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Anonymous Coward

Age has nowt to do with it

My house was built in the 60s, and until I had BT Infinity installed last month, I still had the old GPO master box supplying my feed, so I'm still using the original copper from when it was built.

I was getting 22Mbps out of my "up to 24Mbps" connection before, and I'm now getting the full 40Mbps down, 10Mbps up on my Infinity package, so the age of the copper is clearly capable.

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Coat

@AC

Sure, of course your old copper can handle 40/10MB - BT Infinity is effectively VDSL, hence the extra street cabinets required. Your DSLAM is inside the cabinet instead of in the exchange, so the line length is dramatically shortened. A piece of wet string could manage 40/10 at that distance.

The longer your loop length is, the higher its tendency to act as a massive aerial for EM and RF interference. Also dry joints / poor crimps or water ingress has less of an impact upon VDSL, but it still makes a diff. Once BT Infinity's max speeds are ramped up you'll see that you probably won't be able to make it all the way up to 52MB/16MB - VDSL2 can theoretically manage 100/100MB - without a rip and replace of your drop cable. VDSL's sync rate tails off dramatically past 300m from the street cabs.

Mine's the one with an ADSL2+ modem in the left pocket

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FAIL

"The current top package costs £28 per month on its own."

Not according to their webpage it doesn't.

It's £38 pcm.

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(Written by Reg staff)

Re: "The current top package costs £28 per month on its own."

Typo fixed, thanks.

- Chris

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Go

How Kind

But it would be better if they'd actually lay some cables to places that don't have the option of cable at all. :(

I'm stuck with a useless BT line that's so far from the exchange I am lucky to get 3Mb (when it should be 8). I know it could be worse but you'd think if a new TOWN is being created BT might put in a dedicated exchange or Virgin might jump in with a cable.

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Anonymous Coward

Quite

I liked the line "The gradual programme will take more than 18 months to cover the country,"

Cover the country? They don't even come close to covering the country. I used to be a Telewest customer. I moved house just before Virgin took over. When I moved Telewest told me they were planning to deploy cable to my new postcode within 18 months. About a year later and a couple of months after the Virgin takeover I raised another query to be told that although there were plans to roll out cable to my street there was no specific date. Six months later I queried it again only to be told that there were absolutely no plans to roll out cable in my area. Nice. The rollout plans for non-Virgin areas seem to be going backwards.

Then there's the customer service. In the old Telewest days I reported my cable was down at 4pm on a sunday. Half an hour later there was an engineer in the green box at the end of the street. Ten minutes more and the engineer was at my door to tell me the problem was fixed. A colleague who is a Virgin customer tells me it took days for a similar problem to be rectified recently.

Maybe I'm a cynic, but I suspect that this announcement has more to do with trying to compete with BT than it has with providing a better customer experience. They are probably worried about BTs promise to upgrade 5 "rural" exchanges, since Virgin themselves don't have any rural presence at all.

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They ain't laying cable no more son

Ive heard a lot of anecdotal tales (I work in construction BTW) that VM just flatly refuse to lay cable in new build estates, to the extent that some firms have stopped bothering to ask them.

If you consider that VM brought up all the HFC infrastructure along with a metric fuckton of debt then I don't think it's unreasonable to conclude that they are either unwilling or fiscally unable to lay any new cable. If this is the case then is essentially doing an extended liquidation, they may be lording it up over ADSL now, but when BT or whoever start rolling out FTTH then they are pretty boned, DOCSIS tops out at 300Mbps IIRC.

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Anonymous Coward

Depends where you are

They're laying it in Ashford in Kent, which is where they're also testing their 200Mb/s service.

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FAIL

What's the point...

Of claiming that people will get 100Mb when they can't even reliably provide us with the 50Mb we're paying for now?

On any given day I can get as little as 5Mb or as much as 40Mb, at no point have I EVER got the 50Mb that I'm actually paying for every month.

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throttling

What's the bet that throttling kicks in for the next six hours after a few minutes worth of full pelt 100mbps??

No thanks, I'll stick with my 14mbps ADSL thank you

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The bet? Nothing

They don't throttle the top package normally, especially not when introducing it.

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P2P

P2P and Usenet is always throttled though at peak times. I'd much rather have a reliable and consistent 15Mb/s than a sketchy 100Mb/s that limits your options. Especially when it costs 3x as much.

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Badgers

Meh

I was quite happy with the 2Mb service, and consequently thrilled when they gave the free upgrade to 10Mb.

I currently don't need the 20 or 50Mb so really don't envisage getting the 100Mb any time soon.

Of course that may change as the sproglet grows up and discovers YouTube - though not for at least two years - he's only 4 and is quite happy with cbeebies on demand through the cablebox.

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FAIL

Pity

they can't be bothered to roll it out everywhere!

I live in an Virgin Media area, only they can't be arsed to feed it down my street.

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Unhappy

hmph

I have enough trouble getting anything over 3mb after 6pm till about 11pm (on a 20 MB package), true I can get the full 20MB first thing in the morning or for most of the day on a saturday or sunday.. buts just cos the scallies are still pissed in bed instead of battering bbc iplayer.

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Coat

%Mb/s? 10Mb/s? 50... 100? Give me 2!

Nice though it will undoubtedly be for folk to get 100Mb/s broadband, I'd be rather pleased if we could get 2Mb/s... Congratulations on the technology rollout in the urban environment, but it feels slightly naff when I allegedly have the highest download speed in my village at a miserable if reliable 1.7Mb/s. 'course, it's lovely out here... swings and roundathings, I guess.

Mines the one with the 1's and 0's falling out of the pocket as fast as I can throw them.

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Distant dreams

Sounds great for those who can get it.

Not me however as my 0.4Mb is likely to stay that way for the rest of time given the presence of 12 houses in a 1/2 mile radius.

Must be thankful for what i am able to receive of course - at the same price as other users with up to 100 times the speeds.

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Grenade

*yawn*

Here in Market One land - STILL on 20cn - stripped of cable by NTL who swallowed Metro but wouldn't cough to rebuild the 40 year old network that they purchased in this town....

4.1 megs at 11 am...

I am underwhelmed by the latest willy waving between Virgin (who need to stop mailing me c**p when all they offer are sucky services on 8 meg) and the monopoly abusers at BTw.

As for the percentage b/s.. it still leaves huge areas of the UK without fast services - and paying (BTw) through the nose for old tech/low speeds/small data allowances.. Gee OFCOM must be so proud of that little bit of fairness that they regulated in to the system.

Remind me why this is newsworthy.. its just more of the same **** for those of us the wrong side of the digital divide - a gap which widens each week

Grenade.. OFCOM need one to get our pricing appropriate to our low level of service

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Not matter what speed you have...

...you are still limited to the speed the host can send data to you.

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I get 50mb on Virgin

I get pretty much the 50mb advertised - it does vary, goes down to 30mb sometimes during the day (contention?)

Also there is no throttling of the top tier.

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Virgin Suck

I would never again use Virgin. I moved from Be (which is the best internet company I have ever used) to a virgin 10mbs line.

It never gets over 256kb a second before 11pm. Its almost like Virgin is limiting it, which I am accusing them of. Every day 256kbs no matter what and thats on a good day.

iPlayer jumps and when I watched the live streaming event from Apple the other day I got a faster connection over 3G on my iPhone than trough Virgin cable.

In my opinion Virgin are full of it, they dont answer complaints and they up their prices after you sign up to one of their 'Packages'. It was only by £1 a month but usually when I sign up to a contract at a quoted price, thats the price I get.

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Me too

I used to reliably get pretty much the full 10Mbps I'm paying for most of the time from Virgin, but it all seemed to go down the pan a few months ago. Now I sometimes see speeds as low as 1Mbps, and the general reliability seems to be poor as well - no DNS last night, had to switch to using Google's public DNS servers. Their tech support is useless too. So I also won't be upgrading, unless they can somehow convince me that they can actually deliver something like what they're advertising.

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Stop

Throttled

With the 1.5gb cap.. it will take a whole 2 minutes of full usage to get capped down to stupidly low speeds.

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FAIL

Idiot

And what 1.5GB cap might that be?

There is no cap on 50Mbps and I very much doubt there will be one on 100Mbps.

On the 20Mbps product (a speed I can get most of the time) you can download 7GB between 10 and 3 and a further 3.5GB between 4 and 9 daily without getting throttled. Outside those times it is open house That's a lot of iPlayer / Linux ISOs / Porn / Warez / whatever and if it isn't enough you only get speed capped at 5Mbps which is more than a lot of ADSL lines can deliver.

Sure when the whole country has FTTH then VM might be in trouble at if they haven't increased their network but I expect even suits will understand that and dribble investment into their network at a speed that keeps them solvent.

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Pfft

We're on a *new build* estate on the outskirts of Glasgow, 10 mins drive from the city centre, where the phone system and ergo the broadband has been tacked on to an ancient exchange miles away. There is no cable provision so far.

Not only does this mean that BT could only muster .5mb over their 50 year old copper, the voice call quality alone would have had Alexander Graham Bell himself checking his equipment.

So we, er, 'upgraded' to TalkTalk, and with the addition of an iPlate (ironically, from the BT shop), we have hit the heady heights of 1.6mb on average.

Which is just about sufficient for iPlayer.

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Suits me sir....

I can't say I personally have ever had any issues with VM. I very rarely get less than the 50Mb I am paying and on the odd occasion it has dropped, it's only dropped to about 25Mb.

I like the idea of the 100Mb service, simply because with me my wife and 3 teenage kids, the internet connection at times gets absolutely swamped. I particularly like the idea of the 10Mb upload as this is a lot more useful in the multiplayer gaming. Between games, video streaming, steam, updates and downloads.... blah blah de blah, my home network is pretty active most of the time.

I think Virgin are running a cable expansion program at the moment to about 500,000 new homes, and I'm pretty certain they will all be new build estates (and any old build that happen to fall therabouts) within easy cabling distance of the existing networks. What they won't do and probably will now ever do is completely lay out a new town that doesn't have cable. The costs are simply to high to do so.

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Pointless

I'm sorry but this whole upgrade is largely pointless and will be for a good few years to come. Anyone who upgrades now, just so they can brag needs their head looking at. As someone else pointed out earlier, no matter how fast you can download at, if the host you're connecting to can only send at 1Mb/s, thats what you'll get! IDIOTS.

Virgin can crow all they like about it, I wouldn't give them my money if my life depended on it. I'll stick with BT and my perfectly good 16Mb/s connection which is just fine for gaming and occasional streaming. When I get offered Infinity i'll take that thank you very much just because, no matter what Virgin do, they do not and quite possibly will not ever have the coverage BT have across the country.

Therefore I figure i'll stick with the national provider.

In short, shove it Virgin.....

:)

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Heehaha, right, 100Mb until you use it

1) They cripple file sharing:

http://shop.virginmedia.com/help/traffic-management.html

2) If you use your connection at the speed that you're paying for, then after about ten (10) minutes of use, you get throttled to 25% for 5 hours:

http://shop.virginmedia.com/help/traffic-management/traffic-management-policy.html

(Incidentally, Virgin Media's PR/tech bunnies have no idea about this policy. They only know about the next one)

3) If you cross some SUPER SEKRIT invisible threshold, then you get gimped to 512Kbits (you read that right) until midnight:

http://virgin.net/allyours/faqs/trafficManagementFAQ.html

You can and will get bitch-slapped by all of the above if you do something as foolish as downloading ISOs, or big Steam games. You filthy, filthy thief. Trying to use the service you paid for to legally access data.

Virgin Media: providing you the fastest 5-minutes-per-day of downloading that money can buy.

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FAIL

Wow, so many inaccuracies in one small post...

1) As a user of their XXL service I've yet to see any evidence of them slowing it down noticeably - given the rather chaotic nature of P2P, with peers coming and going at random, I'd be hard pressed to say for certain that any apparent reduction in download speeds could only be caused by some behind the scenes connection furtling at Virgin. And even if I could say for certain that every single slowdown was due to deliberate throttling by VM, the amount by which the speeds do drop - even in the worst cases - would hardly be sufficient to qualify as "crippling".

2. Note the column all the way over to the right on that page. The one headed "Size: XXL". The one which lists no throttling at all... Using an XXL connection at full speed for 10 minutes results in precisely zero impact on subsequent download speeds. Whilst it's true that the lower packages do have some fairly crappy throttling restrictions, this article is about VM launching a new flagship product to take over from the current XXL package, and as such it's not particularly relevant/appropriate/fair to compare the 100MBit service against anything other than XXL.

And yes, I do know that on the upgraded (5 MBit upload) XXL service that column ceases to be populated entirely with N/A's, but even then the only throttling imposed on the service is a 65% drop in upload speed, which merely brings it back to the same speed as the pre-upgraded XXL service. Download speeds remain untouched.

3. That page doesn't apply to cable broadband packages, so is entirely irrelevant with respect to this article.

As I mentioned above, I actually have first hand experience of the user experience on the current VM flagship product, having upgraded to the XXL service as soon as it became available in my area. But that's my only connection to VM - I don't work for them, I don't know anyone who does work for them, as fas as they're concerned I'm just an ordinary customer paying my monthly fee in return for the provision of a service. I get no incentives from them for being nice about the service they provide or about them as a company in general, and with BT Infinity also available in my area there's no question about me staying with VM simply because they're the only option. I stay with them and say nice things about them for one very simple reason. They give me exactly what I pay for. My up/down speeds are consistently within a few percent of the advertised values (provided the server on the other end is able to keep up), I've not had any noticeable problems with throttling/contention/network cloggage, and on the rare occasions I've needed to call them up about something they've been consistently helpful.

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Flame

It's the principle.

I don't need 100Mb/sec, nor even 50Mb/sec, but I do want to be able to use what I pay for unthrottled! Why would I pay for an über-fast 100Mb/sec connection when I only need to download consistently at, say 10Mb/sec. Trouble is when I try to do that they throttle my ass back to the 1990s. If they'd offer an unthrottled package at say 20Mb/sec that was more expensive than the normal 20Mb/sec package, but cheaper than the XXXXXXXXXL package (I mean seriously, how far will they go with the Xs?), then I'd buy it. But no, if you want to USE your connection you have to get an excessively fast one for no reason.

I'm happy with the 13.5Mb/sec I get with BE, because I can actually download at that speed for as long as I want to. And don't even get me started on the lameness of VM's upload speeds.

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Joke

Who needs that mutch bandwith...

...now that Limewire is being shut down.

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Gold badge

Virgin need to get their act together

Really, Virgin need to expand now before BT implement their cable upgrades.

At the moment there is no competition from BT as 50MB cable is way better than 8MB ADSL. Not to mention cable TV and phone can be part of the package.

Once BT have cable and decent speeds it just won't be commercial sense for Virgin to lay cable.

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never mind the download speeds...

I tend to get between 7 and meg down my upto 20meg virgin cable package but consistently get 460kbs upstream. In fact looking through my speedtest results, I've never had more than 460kbs upstream.

It's a pain in arse when you're trying to sync 7,000 DSLR images with google storage via Picasa :(

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Alert

Speed

To me this just seems like a nice way for Virgin to play games with the 50Mb packages. Currently these have no traffic shaping as they are the top package, but I bet they will once you could get a 100Mb package and pay more for the privilege.

On another point who really needs/uses 100Mb?? or even the 50Mb.

Surely it would make more sense to get cable everywhere first???

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Need for speed

Whilst I don't need a 50Mb downlink all the time, it's damn nice to have it there ready and waiting to be used for the times when I do need it.

Reinstalling Windows (which, in a house with 5 PCs, happens on average every couple of months) is made less painful by being able to blaze through all the post-install downloaded updates. Being able to browse through online document archives with no discernable delays means I can spend more time reading about the subject in question and less time being distracted by a blank screen waiting for the file to show up. Being able to have multiple PCs online at the same time without them having to fight for bandwidth is nice (and leads to far fewer complaints from SWMBO if she wants to browse the net whilst I'm in the middle of dragging the latest Linux ISO - or other similarly sized file, nudge nudge wink wink - off a server somewhere).

Most of the TV we watch and radio we listen to (other than in the car) now arrives via the cable modem rather than the Sky box or various radios dotted around the house - with that much bandwidth on tap you simply don't need to think twice about opening up a live stream if you want to watch/listen to something there and then, or in downloading a bunch of stuff to watch/listen to at a more convenient time.

When you've got a faster connection, your net usage patterns will, sooner or later, change to take advantage of the performance on tap. Things that you used to do knowing it'd take a while you now do without a second thought, things you never bothered to try because you knew it'd take too long you now start trying out, things you never used to be able to do because no-one outside of research labs had connections fast enough to support them become things that we all have access to as an everyday part of our online lives.

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FAIL

I live in London

with a green virgin cable box outside my house, but that only feeds the road running across mine, and the opposite side of my road...BUT i can have virgin internet over my BT line at extortionate pricing. I could dig down under my front wall into their cabinet, yet they wont run me a cable and supply me.

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Anonymous Coward

To all those who can't get cable

I believe Virgin are trying to hang fibre alongside the existing copper to save the cost of rolling out to new locations: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/03/11/virgin_media_telegraph_pole_broadband/

Also, I have the 50Mb service, very rarely have issues, almost always running between 38Mb and 50Mb when I do a speed test. I'll happily roll onto the 100Mb when it becomes available

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Anonymous Coward

Any chance

Any chance of an upgrade on customer services and their actual connectivity?

The line connection here is generally ok for speed. It's the fact it drops off the network and it takes 3 hours to come back after having being lied to when reporting it to customer services. On the odd occasion it's connected, it's great. But it's not reliable enough, and their customer services are incompetent. That's why I left and will never return.

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